Each year, the NCAA enacts multiple rule changes for college football, both on and off the field.
Lost in a shuffle of spring football, recruiting calendars and zero news, the Football Rules Committee, chaired by Stanford head coach David Shaw, announced some new rules that will go into effect for the 2022 college football season.
Let’s take a look at some of the new rule changes and how they might affect the Wisconsin Badgers next fall.
Minor updates to defensive ball penalties. While the infraction is still a 10-yard penalty, it will also be an automatic first-come first.
This measure would mark a harsher penalty, especially on the third and long, where keep calling often happens.
With the frequency with which Jim Leonhard and Wisconsin’s defenses use man-to-man defense, this slight tweak to the rules could make a big difference.
A big example of last season’s game against Minnesota in November was how this rule would benefit the Badgers. Wisconsin kicked off early in the second quarter and the Gophers were flagged for a defensive possession free throw for a Graham Mertz sack. The call didn’t cause the first drop. Instead, the drive stopped moments later as they couldn’t get to the first drop and had to settle for a field goal.
Targeting has been one of the most controversial rules since its inception, but the NCAA now allows an appeals process for violations that occur in the second half of a game.
If a conference or school wins the appeal process, the athlete will be immediately eligible when the next game begins, instead of being forced out of the first half of the next game as previously stipulated.
This policy change doesn’t represent a sweeping change to the objective rules that many hoped, but it’s a step toward allowing players to go back sooner and scrutinize objective calls further.
An example from 2019 was a targeted call from Wisconsin safety Eric Burrell in the second half against Michigan. Burrell left the game with a target for helmet-to-helmet contact during an embarrassing slide by Michigan quarterback Dylan McCaffrey.
Wisconsin safety colleague Reggie Pearson was also later ejected for targeting McCaffrey, and as a result, the Badgers were without two players in the first half of next week’s game against Northwestern.
While Pearson’s batting was fairly egregious and perfectly compliant with the rules, Burrell could have an opportunity to appeal his batting and game if the NCAA State Officials Coordinator overturns the ruling.
Injured time out
During the 2021 college football season, multiple teams have criticized injury timeouts, claiming defensive opponents feign injuries to stop games.
The phenomenon has drawn attention over the past decade as the NCAA will now allow schools to report problematic situations for review without the crowded and fast-paced offense. The meeting will then be able to impose penalties based on the findings.
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Given the pro-style offense that Wisconsin uses, this isn’t as frequent as it is elsewhere.
The NCAA has also simplified the off-season rules around below the waist.
The new language only allows forwards and “fixed defenders” in tackle boxes below the waist. Anything outside the tackle, including on the field, will be penalized.
This rule should help reduce knee injuries for Wisconsin and its opponents.
The last entry in the rulebook is informally known as the Kenny Pickett Rule.
The rules state that if a runner simulates sliding both feet first, the player will immediately go down at that point.
Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett faked a slip attempt on a run during a long touchdown game against Wake Forest last winter.
The move confused defenders and referees and sparked discussions about the new rules in the first place.
you can read The official press conference is here.
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